Twelve Stones on a Necklace

Air, air. She surfaced, gasping,
her exhaustion trailing her in adularescent bubbles,
like a flaw in the sea’s blue moonstone.

Too soon, you vanish into the intaglio of memory.
Where your visage fades into the night’s black onyx,
the marcasite of stars.

The mirror tells her it's time.
She takes them off at last, the amethyst earrings,
allows herself to settle in the middle of the double bed.

A Saint-Saëns concerto, La Muse et le Poète.
Over the mother-of-pearl inlay on the cello,
your fingers decipher the sphinx' second riddle.

You unearth love with a geological intuition,
cleaving this igneous heart to reveal a hidden feldspar,
shining, a labradorite iridescence.

Transfigured by Magritte:
your eyes of celestine fire, your lips the blush of rose quartz,
floating in the evanescence of your face.

Bipolar moon, you render fire and ice, hematite and opal,
love’s breathless gasp and the wolf’s dark exhalation,
tranquility and storm.

A lotus flower framed in a trellis of leaves.
A crane, its beak lifted into a spray of peach.
Ribbons of jade braid into a celadon spring.

An Abyssynian with topaz eyes surveys its
colossal domain. Ozymandias, king of kings,
on the precipice of the bedroom dresser.

Shadowed in a facet of the rainforest's emerald face,
the anaconda uncoils an ancient geometry.
Finally we are, facing infinity, breathless.

Five miles above the Atlantic, you fall into dreaming.
Somewhere between Paris and San Francisco,
the sky turns the color of sapphire.

For you I wish that these poems were rubies,
borne by my own caravan from Xi'an out of Shaanxi,
through Persia, along the northern Silk Road


  1. i love how you strung them together in a necklace. how perfect. x chantal

  2. this is poetry at its finest

  3. This was an experimental poem in many ways. Each stanza was written to conform with message constraints in Twitter (140 characters or less), and each stanza was inspired by a Twitter friend, who named me a gemstone that I challenged myself to write a short poem around.

    I have a list of all the friends who acted as muses for this poem (Chantal who commented above is one of them, and Jess who has an Etsy jewellery shop and gave me the most difficult gemstones!) Without that inspiration, each 'bead' of the necklace would not exist. Sometime I will compile that list and post it here, just because.

  4. Anonymous1:08:00 AM

    I remember reading this not too long ago. It is still some of my favorite experimental poems you've written. I did remember your dedication to my lotus avatar (#8). :) I thank you.

    Also, thank you for writing this lovely poem.

  5. Anonymous1:56:00 AM

    What a fantastic poem! You through me into Egyptian and Greek mythology.

  6. This is marvelous. I have read this before but it is worth reading again and again and again... I love the beautiful exuberance of these "stones" :-)

  7. Beautiful use of language, skilled form - great ideas. Thank you Sam, this is lovely :)

  8. Number 8 is the one that grabbed me the most! Strong image and made me stop to read again. In fact I read 8 again! Maybe I'm a nature poem person...each word is so strong there.Thanks for sharing. All the best- LL

  9. Beautiful, deep, and very soulful work...

  10. Thank you all for the kind words.

    Short link -

  11. What a fantastic, rich poem! And such a great creative, interactive idea.

  12. Wonderful idea Sam!! Just so visually beautiful it defies simple words.

  13. A special poem to me, this is what started it all flowing again, after a writer's block that lasted years with only random bursts of poetry.

  14. Enjoyed reading this again, Sam. :)

  15. A similar concept was used in my poem "Riddles with Fruit" - except that the objective correlative, so to speak, is for the reader to guess!

  16. Anonymous3:13:00 PM

    Beautiful piece to be seen again...thanks for sharing it with One Shoot Sunday. Always a pleasure to have you by, Semaphore.

  17. Striking images, amazing work.

  18. I absolutely love this poem.. and so cleverly written.. It is a real "gem" xx

  19. How very differently structured, lovely and wonderful!

  20. "Bipolar Moon you render fire and ice" that image - you are a wonderful writer...always willing to venture...thank you..bkm

  21. Pure genius. Pure, genius.

  22. Anonymous8:01:00 AM

    There's a lovely progression here - I especially like the first and ending stanzas - the image of the woman coming up for air is just so strong - and of course, the love/adoration of the end. k.

  23. Anonymous1:19:00 PM

    You once again have woven words together in an intricate montage
    Thanks for sharing with us this gem

  24. This is absolutely perfect in each mineral bead.

  25. everything can happen between Paris and San Francisco...oh wow sam...that was wonderful...a bead of pearls of treasures, slowly unfolding...wonderful, wonderful write

  26. wow sir...this is many little facets in these verses...i think my favorite is the bipolar moon verse....really tight...and a nice progression through all of them as well....very cool....

  27. great titling as well...

  28. Anonymous5:19:00 PM

    Always loved the sensual nature of your work, quite a few levels beneath that chain of thought

  29. Intelligent and brilliantly inventive. Loved it!

  30. This is a beautiful bouquet of words... I am inhaling the colors and sharp images here Sam ~

  31. My husband is a geologist; and I live in the city that hosts the world's largest gem show. This spoke to me on many levels. How lucky the one who is it's intents recipient.

  32. I love the way you wrote this... It all turned into a beautiful necklace, one we would all love to wear.

  33. just brilliant, and def original. I really like the way you got your inspiration; friends picking precious stones, and you restricting length to Twitter 140. Maybe this form could be christened the "peralta". I would use it in a blink. Stanzas 4 & 7 impressed, touched me. I have never had a writer's block; seen too many movies, read too many books--ideas just pummeling off my cortex like mosquitos in Alaska. Glad this poem cleared up the morass.

  34. I also like the idea of a group effort if you will to create a poetry quilt like this...luscious..I felt I was on the Road to Xanadu...

  35. What a beautiful necklace - each gem sparkles complementing the next perfectly - stunning poetry as ever

  36. ...very well written sir... whose fairest neck would take the privelege to tame those wild stones... Each possessed a beauty that is truly remarkable... smiles...

    P.S. i'm afraid i haven't seen my birth stone in this...aww...hehe...

  37. Anonymous9:12:00 AM

    Beautiful imagery...bling poetry for your gals:)

    Cressida de Nova

  38. Anonymous11:32:00 AM

    my favorite stanzas are 4 and the last one

  39. Sigh, such fine example of artist and art in each of these gem-like pieces.

    Truly lovely and evocative, Sam. Thank you! ~ j

  40. 11 really put me in the scene. I like how you connected it all with the necklace metaphor. Great stuff.

  41. Sam, Sam, Sam. Too much beauty, almost. My heart is caught in my throat... the "bipolar moon" made me smile. This poem is lush and wonderful to read aloud, as I do all your poems. Peace, Amy

  42. oh wow...wonderful images sam....the fingers deciphering the sphinx' second riddle may be my fav... intriguing as well with her taking off the amethyst earrings...there's a whole story behind and between the lines...and Somewhere between Paris and San Francisco... ha... that is a long way to dream...just the right distance probably... looking forward to FFA later...

  43. ha. cool. remember being impressed with this one....the anaconda uncoiling in ancient geometry is def a cool one....still like the bipo moon....ah but they are rubies sir...smiles

    will be late checking in since i am on the road...this should be fun though....

  44. Lovely, Sam... I especially like #3, 7, & 11.

  45. Impressed again, Sam, as you seem to illustrate your premise so eloquently. Taking my cue off Brian this morning, I found my self picking up celebrity tidbits and creating a twitter found poem mixed up liberally with my own perspectives. Great exercise; may have to use the T-form with some more serious stuff, as you did; thanks.

  46. Anonymous4:23:00 PM

    Such a pretty necklace :)

    Thanks for a great prompt.

  47. Beautiful and such an expansive vocabulary! Love the challenge.

  48. I have no words, Master Semaphore.

  49. You have created a beautiful necklace made of stunning poetic words.

  50. Anonymous8:03:00 PM

    An amazing poem, leaves me breathless. A real gift.

  51. Ah, all beautiful and wondrous. The Ozymandias verse with the precipice of the dresser particularly appeals to my quirky sense of humour.

  52. Beautifully strung necklace. One can almost see the brilliance of the stones twinkling around the neck!
    this twitter/micro fiction (MF)like posting makes it easier to come up with. We tend to discipline the thinking on just one aspect each time ie compartmentalizing the ideas. One can then progress into as many stanzas. I've been writing MF but never thought of employing it this way. Great idea for future free verse postings. Thank you, sir!


  53. I'm glad you explained the origin of your choice of Gems, Sam. The poem freezes and melts and bursts into flame and sound and color. The blue part of a flame. I would I could carry the full glory of this earthly unearthly necklace.

  54. You adorned beauty along this string of poetry in ways that leaves one breathless in the romance it carries. Thank you for showing light on the poetry that captivates me on Twitter. Send peace ~ Rose

  55. Gorgeous work! The 11th is particularly exquisite.

  56. Anonymous11:29:00 PM

    Wow... I'm flabbergasted by this. It's illustrious and has rich imagery.

    I also used onyx in my poem; nice to see its use here too.

    Each stanza is stand-out but to create this dodecagon of poetry is just beyond me.

    Stanzas 4, 5, 7, and 8 were particular favorites.

    Excellent writing Sam. -Mike Jewett

  57. Anonymous11:29:00 PM

    Such a fine poetry! I'm intrigued by the necklaces of your words.

  58. Such delicious gems strung together ("the igneous heart" my favourite).

  59. I have no words to express my admiration for your wonderful poem, having taken the Mickey with my own, I must grovel in abject apology.

  60. ...the gem in each verse shines brighter ever more and more than the last... a real timeless beauty in your craft Sam... this should be a favorite now... thank you... smiles...

  61. Twitter got me writing poetry after a hiatus of many years - I love these beautifully polished gems of yours

  62. beautiful imagery and language. thank you for the awesome poetry prompt

  63. Hi Semaphore I feel a kindred spirit with you traveling a path far away from true will...

    Your poetry here sparkles with jew els in less than 140 characters...

    I wish I could make love to letters the way you do..I admit I am a little jealous..

    of what you do...

    Love you friend hope to see you later truly do...

    This prompt is challenging for a wordy way like me but it is almost like spiritual...

    too me too love you even more for that thanks too...

  64. Delicious words-precious stones added to my collection...Thanks

  65. This is so brilliant, Sam. You've woven so much into it, references to the gemstones, music, Ozmandias and so much more. Each tweet is a gem in its own right--a stand-alone jewel. Loud applause coming your way. Do you hear it?

  66. Oh, excellent work! I particularly enjoyed the 4th stanza--fingers deciphering, a perfect image. And that last stanza! Stunningly beautiful.

  67. Very accomplished piece made even more admirable by the 140-character requirement.

  68. This is amazing! I love all of the details and imagery of each stone.

  69. Each stanza stands on its own yet, are interlinked...lovely.

  70. I like Ozymandias cat topaz eye'd towering over the dresser!

  71. like a flaw in the sea’s blue moonstone.

    is just the beginning of what, for me, is a pure pleasure: a rich and satisfying treat, opening the poetic senses like menthol and soothing like secondary honey.

    some slick references - seamless.

    a fantastic use of language: nothing feels forced or crowbarred either which is a skill in-itself.

    an acute an accurate, measured and subtle attack -

    the form almost offers a sense of perfection.


Thanks so much for visiting my site, I'm grateful you've taken the time to read. If you liked this selection, you can download a sampler of (or buy!) my books at the following links...

- Sonata Vampirica
- Sonnets from the Labrador
- How More Beautiful You Are
- Tango Desolado
- War and Ablution

...And, if you can, please leave a rating at It's easy, and it does help a lot.

...Thank you!